Gonski Panel Member Outlines a Future Agenda for Gonksi Funding

Ken Boston, a member of the Gonski panel on school funding, recently addressed the Annual Conference of the NSW Teachers’ Federation. The following are highlights of the address.

Boston told the conference that the neo-conservative right that has taken control of the Federal Cabinet is totally opposed to the Gonski funding model because “the two key Gonski objectives are both anathema to a neo-conservative agenda”. Continue reading “Gonski Panel Member Outlines a Future Agenda for Gonksi Funding”

Kevin Andrews Exposes Pyne’s Hypocrisy on Gonski

Comments this week by the Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews, have exposed a breathtaking contradiction in the Federal Government’s approach to conditions attached to Federal special purpose grants to the states. Andrews said that he wants more conditions on Federal funding for the states to reduce homelessness. In contrast, the Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, has dropped conditions requiring state governments to increase school funding under the Gonksi plan on the grounds of states’ rights.

The stark contradiction shows that Pyne’s support for states’ rights in the case of school funding is simply a cover for undermining funding for government schools and disadvantaged students. The Government is also maintaining conditions attached to Federal funding for a vast array of social programs including other education programs administered by Pyne. Continue reading “Kevin Andrews Exposes Pyne’s Hypocrisy on Gonski”

School Money Wars

The claim that there has been a huge increase in government funding of schools over the past decade or more while school outcomes have declined is highly misleading. The increase in funding was relatively small and there have been some significant improvements in school outcomes.

The false claim is widely used in an attempt to discredit the Gonski funding reforms and justify the Federal Government’s decision to abandon them. However, as demonstrated in the Gonski report, the real problem is that past funding increases were largely not directed to where they are most needed [Gonski et.al. 2011]. Continue reading “School Money Wars”

Wealthy Private Schools Walk Away from Pyne’s Train Wreck With Millions in Over-funding

Calculations by Greens NSW MP John Kaye show that the Abbott government’s termination of the Gonski process after just four years will deliver a $169 million a year windfall to 163 private schools, while the average NSW public education system will lose funding that could employ four new teachers in the average public school.

Continue reading “Wealthy Private Schools Walk Away from Pyne’s Train Wreck With Millions in Over-funding”

Gonski Panel Member Refutes Criticisms of Needs-based Funding Plan

Ken Boston, a member of the Gonski school funding review panel, has comprehensively refuted claims that there is no basis in evidence to increase needs-based funding as recommended by the Gonksi report. Boston’s comments follow criticisms recently presented to a Senate Committee inquiry on school funding. Continue reading “Gonski Panel Member Refutes Criticisms of Needs-based Funding Plan”

Taxation Reform to Fund Growth and Social Spending

SOS does not normally write on taxation policy. However, in view of the failure of the National Commission of Audit report to consider the revenue side of the Budget and the abandonment of the Gonski funding plan by the Federal Government because it says it cannot be afforded, discussion of taxation policy is necessary if Australia is ever going to be able to address disadvantage in education (and other social issues). A good start for this discussion is a White Paper on taxation reform published last week by Nobel prize winner in economics and former chief economist of the World Bank, Professor Joe Stiglitz. Although the context is the US tax system, it has several points of relevance for raising taxation revenue in Australia to fund education and social programs. The following is an edited summary of the paper. Continue reading “Taxation Reform to Fund Growth and Social Spending”

Gonski on Gonski

The chairman of the Gonski school funding review, David Gonski, has criticized the Commission of Audit recommendation to Government that his funding plan be abandoned. The following is an extract from his seminal Inaugural Jean Blackburn Oration given to the Australian College of Educators in Melbourne on 21 May 2014. The full speech is available below.

The recommendations of the National Commission of Audit are disappointing in so far as they apply to school funding. While I am happy the commission specifically notes support for government investment in schooling, I am disappointed with their general commentary. Continue reading “Gonski on Gonski”

Research Study Shows that Increased Funding Delivers Better Outcomes for Low Income Students

New research from the United States on the relationship between school funding and outcomes shows that money matters in education for low income students. Its findings suggest that the ending of the Gonski funding plan by the Federal Government means that Australia has lost the opportunity to significantly improve the school results of disadvantaged children.

The new study shows that school finance reform in many US states has increased expenditure in low income school districts which improved school and later adult attainments of low income children. The increased school spending had a positive effect on the years spent in school and high school graduation rates for children from poor families. It also had positive effects on later adult earnings, family income, and adult poverty status. Continue reading “Research Study Shows that Increased Funding Delivers Better Outcomes for Low Income Students”

Abbott Govt Turns its Back on Public Schools and Disadvantaged Students

The Federal Budget is a disaster for public education in Australia. It has killed off the Gonski school funding increases for 2017-18 and 2018-19. Public schools stand to over $6 billion as a result. The unity ticket on school funding promised by Abbott and Pyne before the election has been completely shredded.

Continue reading “Abbott Govt Turns its Back on Public Schools and Disadvantaged Students”

Audit Commission Ignores the High Concentration of Disadvantage in Government Schools

The National Commission of Audit report has recommended not proceeding with the planned Gonski funding increases for 2018 and 2019. Instead, it recommended that school funding be indexed beyond 2017 by a weighted average of the Consumer Price Index and the education and training wage price index. At best, this will mean no real increases in funding, only increases in line with rising costs. At worst, it may lead to a cut real funding depending on the actual indexation arrived at.

The recommendation will deny schools the funding they need to reduce disadvantage in education, which was the whole focus of the Gonski report. Implementation of the Gonski funding increase would have seen Federal funding for schools increase by 6.5 per cent in real terms (that is, adjusted for inflation) per year. The large bulk of these increases would have gone to government schools. Continue reading “Audit Commission Ignores the High Concentration of Disadvantage in Government Schools”